Bay ice racers tickle winterfest with roaring send-off

Dave White
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Brap! Brap! Brap! Brap!

The canned noise of sup’ed-up snow machines proved music to ears of area power-sled enthusiasts and the untold dozens of spectators who gladly yielded their lost hour of sleep Sunday morning to bring daylight saving time to swiftest acceptance. Not that the lost hour was all that was on their mind, though the loud machines did stir a few late-nighters from their place of rest.

A quarter-mile race track was carved and groomed in the deep snow on the bay ice sheet last Thursday to settle some guff among sporting buddies Shane Morgan, Evan Blanchard and the Park boys — B.J., David, Dennis, Neil and Timmy.

Unpromoted except for a minor Facebook post from Dennis Park, what started simply as a playful challenge between the local friends for bragging rights among themselves on who owned the fastest snow machine, would run into an exciting and sunny day of racing for many at the McIvers Island tickle.

Among other racers who came from around Bay of Islands on Sunday, the local snowmobile pilots proved about the fastest, testing machines and their own mettle at speeds of 160 km/h and more through the afternoon and early evening.

For the excitement they delivered, it was winners all.

FYI: The fastest machine was Shane Morgan’s.

Resident fans and interested passersby, many lesser inclined to venture into the cold outdoors to watch, were able to see the races from bay-facing windows at home or parked in the warmth of automobiles in the cove just off and along Wharf Road.

Most of the Sunday’s visiting racers and eager onlookers were gone home long before last light around 8 p.m.. Yet, a few shyer riders were seen lingering in the setting sun to try their own snow hogs flat out after almost none were left to watch them. Their repeated runs up the track testified to their fun. Speeds were clocked above 90 and 100 mph.

Ice offers opportunity

The thick and thrilling speedway ice may expect get a few more tries through the fortnight before spring thaw, rain, wind and ocean tides claim the tickle back from Old Man Winter. Before then, though, local homeowners, too, will occasion to avail of the broader ice field, which yet covers the entire bay, to access fuel wood further along parts of the shore, even as others like the chance it offers to take their snowmobiles across it to cabins they own on Woods Island.

Confident other resident adventurers — after seeing for weeks now federal icebreaking ships being required to get freighters, tankers and ferry passengers to and from the Port of Corner Brook — have more lately been witnessed taking larger personal motor vehicles, cars, trucks and SUVs on the ice for a spin. While the ice is said to be a metre and more thick in most places, caution remains a watchword in nearer the shore and around outflows of brooks and streams.

Spring officially arrives March 20.

Carnival ashore well liked

Though unaffiliated with the last days of the 32nd McIvers Winter Carnival, the friendly snowmobile races went without incident or accident. The unwaivered powersledders would add a nice closing touch on the end of enjoyable family fun activities staged ashore Friday and Saturday by the men and women of Epiphany Church and McIvers’ newly-minted recreation committee.

Well-attended prize card games, merchandise bingo and mixed darts were held the prior Friday and Saturday.

Last Saturday’s 100-strong carnival breakfast, a slate of children’s games and activities, including a sliding party, a carnival treasure hunt and snow sculpturing, were all well received.

The carnival-closing regional talent showcase that night was dedicated in memory of Lowell Park, long-standing chairman of Epiphany’s Men’s Service Club who passed away in January. The community filled to partake in the musical tributes, to see regular and new performers and enjoy some laughter and refreshments, as well as the opportunities to win door prizes and carnival button draws. Many stayed to welcome the jump to daylight savings at 2 a.m.

Helping Hands Award

People who give freely of their time, energy and skills, be it laying down a track for others to follow, sponsoring children’s events, serving up food and drink, or singing the night away, are invaluable assets to their communities.

Leaders not forgotten, they stand honoured each year for the commitments they make and see through right where they live, and elsewhere.

April 6-12 is Volunteer Week, that time to show appreciation.

In Humber Arm South, family of the late Eric Humber, a longtime community leader prior to his death a few years ago, invites residents to nominate people in recognition of the things they do building their community and making a difference. The award this year will be presented to a worthy nominee in a ceremony set for April 9.

The Eric Humber Helping Hands Award is given annually in honour of volunteering individuals who are seen dedicating themselves in strong support of making their communities better for everyone.

Applications in nomination for this year’s presentation of the Eric Humber memorial award are available at the HAS town office, or from Mary Humber (789-3642) and Erica Humber-Shears (638-5813).

The nomination deadline for the 2014 Helping Hands Award is March 28.

Double silver medalist

Congratulations are extended to Bailey White of McIvers for his double-silver medal win at the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games recently concluded in Clarenville.

Son of Chris and Lori Lynn, Bailey helped his western team to capture team honours with his second-place finishes in the slalom and giant slalom events in male alpine skiing for 16- to 18-year-olds.

Way to go, Bailey !

Organizations: Epiphany Church, Helping Hands

Geographic location: Dennis Park, Bay of Islands, Port of Corner Brook Lowell Park Newfoundland and Labrador

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